Garden State Relief Fund

Rooted in Community: 1911 SmokeHouse Bar-B-Que

Trenton, New Jersey

Maurice Hallett, owner of 1911 Smokehouse BBQ in Trenton, New Jersey, understands the importance of community and just the right recipe to bring people together through what we all love most ‐‐ comfort food. For nearly five years, he did just that, introducing a menu of delicious BBQ staples to a supportive community of local workers, residents and neighbors in downtown Trenton.

Then, the COVID‐19 pandemic hit, and 1911 Smokehouse was abruptly forced to shut its doors, indefinitely. Maurice immediately had to ask himself a difficult question: “Am I going to be able to keep my employees employed? There are 21 people who count on me for their livelihood.” After researching opportunities for immediate financial assistance, Maurice learned about the Trenton Small Business Emergency Loan Fund Program offered through the City of Trenton, New Jersey Community Capital and Greater Trenton. Thanks to a $20,000 loan through the program, Maurice was able to quickly pivot the business and begin serving affordable family style meals as soon as eateries and restaurants were given the green light to resume operations. “The process for applying was a simple application. With this loan, we were able to keep all 21 employees on board, get the cleaning supplies necessary to adhere to new restaurant requirements and help the community.”

Today, Maurice is much more than a restaurant owner, playing the long game as he navigates the pandemic while providing job security for his employees. Through 1911 Smokehouse, he is providing a sense of place and gathering for those in the neighborhood, seven days a week. Maurice looks forward to having flexibility in the space once again but until then, he will continue to respond effectively to any challenges ahead.

This loan was administered through the Trenton Small Business Emergency Loan Program, a program launched in partnership with the City of Trenton and Greater Trenton in response to the COVID-19 crisis to provide low-cost loans to Trenton businesses affected by the pandemic.

"With this loan, we were able to keep all 21 employees on board, get the cleaning supplies necessary to adhere to new restaurant requirements and help the community.”